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Forging the Guyanese Nation: National Identity and Foreign Policy

Imtyaz Mohamed
York University
Imtyaz Mohamed
York University
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between national identity and foreign policy in post-colonial Guyana, a small state in the international system. Using a constructivist theoretical framework, it looks at ways in which Guyana, a state that lacks internal social cohesion and has weak political institutions, constructs its national identity, internalizes that identity, and then externalizes it through its foreign policy. The paper interrogates notions of Guyanese identity from an historical perspective and revisits the stated and unstated goals of Guyana’s foreign policy as well as its foreign policy actions beginning from the 1960s to the post-cold war period, through the period that began after September 11, 2001, and into the 21st century. It concludes with an elucidation of the continuities and discontinuities in the relationship of Guyanese identity to foreign policy.